Let’s Make This Clear: Jordan is Palestine

Listen, Palestinian Arabs, If you want to march, march on Jordan.

By Matthew M. Hausman, Att’y   (Originally published on Mar 30. 2012)

The “Jordan-is-Palestine” option for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict is an idea that, despite history and logic, was beaten into silence by Israel’s enemies and detractors. Critics denounced the concept as preposterous, reactionary and counterproductive.

And yet, the idea has been resurrected from within Jordan itself. There can be no dispute that Jordan was created in a sovereign vacuum on land that had comprised most of the Palestine Mandate. However, its creation as Transjordan in 1921 satisfied a geopolitical need unencumbered by a Palestinian national myth that had not yet been invented.

In contrast, the Oslo peace process was based on the false premise that an ancestral population was indiscriminately displaced by Israel’s establishment and now must be repatriated at her expense. Because Jordan embodies the concept of Arab self-determination as contemplated by the San Remo Conference and the Palestine Mandate, and because most Jordanians already identify as Palestinian, it is high time to recognize it as the Palestinian homeland and scrap the current peace process.

The Oslo Process was heavily weighted against Israel from the start because it demanded validation of the Palestinian narrative and, thereby, the delegitimization of Jewish historical claims. After cajoling the country into accepting the farce of Oslo, the Israeli left made it politically incorrect to assert traditional Jewish claims or to mention that the Palestinians have no ancestral connection to the Land of Israel. The peace process was focused on resolving the plight of Arab refugees and perpetuating the artifice that they originated in ancient Israel while the Jews were merely colonial interlopers.

The truth – that Jews have the longest history of continuous habitation, that they preceded the Arab-Muslim conquest by thousands of years, and that the Palestinians are largely descended from an immigrant population that grew during the late Ottoman and British Mandatory periods – was suppressed under layers of Freudian self-denial.

One need look no further than the operational definition of “refugees” employed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (“UNRWA”) to see past the façade of Palestinian nationality. Unlike relief organizations that seek to ameliorate the condition of wartime refugees through resettlement, UNRWA’s sole purpose is to maintain the statelessness of Arabs who became refugees in 1948, regardless of whether they now live in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon or Syria (and irrespective of whether their forebears came from Egypt, Algeria or elsewhere), and thereby to reinforce their stature as a people though they possess none of the ethnic, cultural or institutional hallmarks of nationality.

According to UNRWA, Palestinian “refugees” are those Arabs who established residency within the Mandate between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost their homes and means of livelihood during Israel’s War of Independence, and who now reside in areas where UNRWA services are available. To put this in perspective, no similar agency was created to serve the needs of the nearly 800,000 Jewish refugees who were summarily expelled from Arab-Muslim lands and dispossessed of whatever assets they owned in 1948, and who subsequently were taken in by Israel.

The improbable definition employed by UNRWA begs the question of how Palestinians could be designated as refugees based on a minimum residency requirement of only two years if they are truly descended from people who continuously inhabited the land for hundreds of generations.

These “refugees” clearly were not required to be native born or descended from indigenous ancestors, and in fact many were either immigrants themselves or the progeny of immigrants. Moreover, they were not expelled from an existing country with recognized borders that was innately “Palestinian” or that ever exhibited the trappings of sovereignty or national character. Indeed, no sovereign nation existed between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea from the time the Romans conquered the Kingdom of Judea until Israeli independence in 1948. There was, however, a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, including Judea, Samaria and Gaza, dating back to antiquity, and a Jewish majority in Jerusalem for generations.

Given that the proponents of Oslo sought to suppress this history and ignore away the authenticity of traditional Jewish claims, the peace process from its inception was on a collision course with Israeli autonomy and national integrity. Moreover, the basic premise of Oslo, i.e., that the Jewish homeland should be further divided after much of its territory had already been taken to create an autonomous Arab state in Jordan, was repudiated by the Arabs when they rejected the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 and launched a genocidal war against Israel and her people.

The peace process was doomed to failure because it demanded that Israel relinquish historically Jewish land, but did not insist with equal vigor that the Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation or take meaningful steps to eliminate antisemitic incitement. The conceit of Oslo was that it validated apocryphal Palestinian pretensions even as it denigrated verifiable Jewish claims and treated Israel as a colonial aberration.

The architects of Oslo paid lip service to the need for mutual recognition, but they never chastised the Palestinian Authority for failing to amend its charter calling for Israel’s destruction (which it had agreed to do as a precondition under the Oslo Accords), for continuing to engage in terrorism and antisemitic incitement, or for stating repeatedly that it would never recognize a Jewish State. Although American and European meddlers insisted that Israel consider hot-button issues like the Arab “right of return,” it became increasingly clear as the process wore on that matters of existential concern to Israel could not really be negotiated, and that she was expected simply to capitulate to all Palestinian demands – no matter how expansive or outrageous.

The improbable definition employed by UNRWA begs the question of how Palestinians could be designated as refugees based on a minimum residency requirement of only two years if they are truly descended from people who continuously inhabited the land for hundreds of generations.

It was assumed, for example, that Israel would give up Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem without question, although these were historically Jewish lands and though Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab or Muslim nation, and certainly not one called “Palestine.” Most galling was the continual promotion of the Palestinian Authority as moderate despite its oft-stated goal of the phased destruction of Israel, the starting point of which was to be the much ballyhooed two-state solution.

The inconvenient truth is that most Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza do not want two states living side by side, but rather a single state built on the ruins of Israel.

At its very core, Oslo constituted a rejection of established international precedent recognizing the Jews’ aboriginal connection to the Land of Israel. It ignored, for example, the import of the San Remo Conference of 1920 and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922, which recognized the right of close settlement and of the Jews to live anywhere in their homeland. The goal was unrestricted Jewish habitation west of the Jordan River. There was no discussion of a Palestinian homeland because there were no Palestinians at the time. Rather, Arab self-determination was addressed by the establishment of the French Mandate in Lebanon and Syria and the British Mandate in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Transjordan. In contrast, the San Remo Resolution and Palestine Mandate recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and … the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Unfortunately, historical reality never fit the Oslo scheme.

The San Remo Resolution applied to lands designated for inclusion in Mandatory Palestine on both banks of the Jordan River. Nevertheless, before the Mandate was signed in 1922, the British gave Transjordan to the Hashemites after they were forced out of the Arabian Peninsula by the Saudi royal family. Indeed, the Hashemites were the ancestral rulers of Mecca, said to be descended from the tribe of Mohammed, and had no connection to that portion of the former Ottoman Empire that would become Jordan. But they were installed nonetheless as a foreign ruling class over a population that was composed largely of immigrants from other parts of the Arab-Muslim world who were complete strangers to Hashemite sovereignty.

Jordan today is governed by a Hashemite minority that engages in apartheid-like discrimination against the Palestinian majority. Though Palestinians are accorded nominal citizenship, they are effectively disenfranchised through electoral gerrymandering and are in many ways treated as aliens whose residency is only temporary. In addition, thousands have been stripped of their citizenship in order to perpetuate the fiction that they are stateless vagabonds whose rightful place is a country that never existed.

The Hashemites enforce the Palestinians’ separateness in this way to make them yearn for the liberation of “Palestinian Arab lands” from “the Zionists.” Nevertheless, there is growing recognition among them that they will never “return” to “Palestine”; and accordingly many now desire full citizenship and equal rights in Jordan.

There is also an increasing sense that whatever the Palestinian leadership’s ultimate strategy may be in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, it is not for the benefit those living in Jordan and elsewhere, even though they constitute the bulk of the Palestinian population.

There are roughly five million Arabs now living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and elsewhere who identify as Palestinian, compared to only 1.5 million in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Giving heed to this arithmetic reality, a growing number of Palestinians recognize that Israel will not accept an Arab “right of return” that would destroy her as a Jewish state, and instead believe their homeland should be established in Jordan.

Proponents of this idea include Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian-Jordanian expatriate writer who now lives in the UK.

Zahran has written extensively about the Palestinians and their place in the Mideast, and about how their present leadership – whether the PA in Judea and Samaria or Hamas in Gaza – has no interest in mitigating the conditions of Palestinians living elsewhere. He understands that this leadership will not accept a two-state solution or permanent peace with a Jewish nation. He also acknowledges certain demographic and historical factors militating in favor of a homeland in Jordan, including that it already has a predominantly Palestinian population and comprises most of the territory originally included in the Palestine Mandate.

The rest of the world should do the same.

[Matthew M. Hausman is a trial attorney and writer who lives and works in Connecticut. A former journalist He is also one of the people who I have co-opted to support this cause.]

February 6, 2023 | 14 Comments »

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14 Comments / 14 Comments

  1. Let’s make THIS clear: Jordan is ARAB Palestine. Israel is JEWISH Palestine. The Jewish people has equity in the name “Palestine,” coined by Rome after defeating its Jews, centuries before Arabs conquered it from their Byzantine successors. It is counter-productive for us in the extreme to call Palestinian Arabs “THE Palestinians” and to talk about splitting “Palestine” between “Palestinians” and Jews.

  2. Arnold,

    Your commentary is both enlightening and powerful. The challenge is how to get this message out to the world. With the influx of historical revisionism in our “woke” academia, the next generation has already been infected with “faux history”. I couldn’t agree more that getting historical facts out in the public domain by whatever means is paramount.

  3. Jordan becomes Palestine when the U.S. decides that is the case. But hold on who exactly decides what America should decide? But we should all Know. Now Belsky is perfectly correct. it is the hidden hand of the people who control America and the world. THE NEW WORLD ORDER together with the THE BILDERBERG GROUP. A very sinister communist conspiracy that despite the failure of the Soviet Empire controls the globe. Those who challenge this contention are in deep, deep denial.

  4. @ Paul Collins:

    … Because most of the human is ignorant to just about everything that doesn’t fit neatly into their immediate little breadbasket of personal or neighborhood concerns.

    You could call this part of the eternal struggle of the parochial vs the catholic in the secular considerations of the human race. (The pun was fully intended.)

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  5. Jordan is the result of a regrettable delay in the confirmation of the British Mandate of Palestine as agreed by the Great Powers at San Remo in April, 1920 , that was not confirmed by the League of Nations until 1922.. A lot happened in that period to cause England a serious political problem.
    England was in de facto control of Syria immediately after WWI. Its army was there. It placed Feisal on the throne. It’s Ambassador McMahon had been engaged in correspondence with Feisal’s father King Hussein in the Arabian Peninsula seeking to enlist the aid of the Arabs there in fighting the Ottomans because Hussain had voiced an interest in self government and becoming free of the colonial occupation and rule of Turkey. Feisal was his son. Abdullah was another, the brother to Feisal. After the Battle of Maysalun on July 23rd, 1920, the French deposed Feisal. Abdullah marched his army to TransJordan, (all of Palestine East of the Jordan River), and made ready to attack the French in Damascus. Winston Churchill saw that England had a problem with the French and with the Arabs. In the secret Sykes Picot agreement the colonial powers had split up the captured Ottoman Lands in the Middle East into spheres of influence. Syria had been in the French sphere. So Winston Churchill decided he could remedy that by awarding Feisal the throne of Iraq and awarding Abdullah TransJordan so he wouldn’t attack the French. But England had volunteered to be the trustee of the political rights awarded to the Jews in April, including those over TransJordan. Col. Richard Meinartzhagen, a British officer, suggested it was wrong to give away what had been promised to the Jews, and that Abdullah might be satisfied with a short term grant. Churchill knew that as trustee of the Jew’s political rights, it would be a betrayal of England’s fiduciary obligations to the Jews to cede TransJordan to a foreign power as was expressly prohibited by the Mandate. So to the League of Nations, he urged the addition of a new paragraph 25 that would delay the close settlement of the Jews in Transjordan because of a local situation. This temporary disposition was later supplemented in 1928 with a mandate giving Transjordan permanently to Abdullah and his Hashmite Tribe. It was never contended at the time that Abdullah and the Hashemites were indigenous to TransJordan to my recollection, but my recollection is aging and that false argument may have been proffered by the Arabs. The Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula, with Lawrence did provide, even Lawrence admitted, some minor help to the British that was well publicized by Lowell Thomas to sell newspapers. But the Arabs in Palestine fought on the side of the Ottomans.

  6. That is because I never mince words, Ed. Everything I write is the outcome of a thought process which I try to base as closely as possible on what I understand to be the objective reality of a given situation, in the service of an ideal or purpose to which I have chosen to manifest loyalty.

    I was born a citizen of the United States of America, and I provided three years of loyal service as a soldier of the United States Army during three years of my youth 60 years ago. I am also a Jew. There is an American state, but America comprises the sons and daughters of many nations. Accordingly, I am a member of the Jewish nation. And as such, I serve the cause of Zionism, which is the liberation movement of the Jewish nation.

    Long ago, after I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and communications, as the first of two university degrees, I worked first as a state bureau reporter for United Press International, then later as a corporate public relations operative for some 10 years. These experiences taught me to write in a manner simultaneously forceful, direct, clear, purposeful and with economy of verbiage.

    Finally, I write in a spirit neither of fear nor of any particular perceived need to please any reading audience. I write specifically what is on my mind. And I never write to achieve approval of anyone except myself. Nobody is obligated to read my work, and nobody is obligated to publish them.

    I am my own master. And if I have a talent in what I think, say and write, I hope it is because I try to be as honest as possible in all that I communicate.

    That, and just that, if anything, is my way with words.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  7. Leonard,

    The world hears only that to which it is predisposed to listen. And they won’t listen to the Jews unless and until the Jews learn to stop acting defensively and take the offense into the heartlands of their enemies.

    In order to make Trans-Jordan once again part of Eretz-Yisrael, the Jewish nation and state must first annex and finish settling the who of Shomron and Yehuda, then conquer, annex and populate the transjordanian land area with Jews.

    None of this likely to happen in a short time. But I think that one day, it will in fact happen. Because Moslems in general and Arab Moslems in particular never will make peace with the Jewish nation and state. Instead, they will continue attacking Israel whenever and wherever they can.

    And I think that endless hostility and periodic armed attacks against Israel and the Jews can and should be put to use as opportunities of the Jewish state and nation to take their land, a little at a time, expanding continually west/southwest toward the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Suez, and north deep into southern Lebanon, northeast deeper into Syria and ultimately all the way to the upper Euphrates River and into Trans-Jordan all the way to the Syrian Desert. Then too south and southeastward into the Hejaz area of northwestern Saudi Arabia.

    I do not even bear those Arabs hostility on an individual basis. But I clearly recognize them as representatives of a national culture and religion-based civilization that is permanently hostile to the West in general, and locally to Israel. So as far as I am concerned, we should take whatever opportunity arises to grow the State of Israel at their expense, for purposes of growing a much larger and more powerful Jewish nation.

    Which is precisely what us white folks on the North American continent did to the Canadian and American Indian tribes. And no, I feel no guilt whatsoever about them either.

    The world is controlled by winners, who do what they can while losers suffer what they must.

    Simple as that.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  8. b>@ ArnoldHarris:

    Let’s make this clearer. Trans-Jordan is Eretz-Yisrael.

    Why dont you say that louder so that the world will hear. Everybody seems to think that Jordan is Jordan, Palestine is Palestine. Everyone including Israel. An Israel that does not want to rock the boat.